SAMANTA  BATRA  MEHTA
Stories from a Broken Land #2
2010
C Print
18.75 x 49.5 inches
In 'Stories from a Broken Land', I explore personal history / the history of a land where a map is changed or re-constructed. Changing a map, very simplistically is to alter its lines; but, underpinning these changes are often the result of violent events such as war, secession, communal and ethnic strife and the divisive forces of power, religion and politics.

The photographic material for this series was drawn from my travels and interactions with people in Croatia, a nation created post the 1991 war that signaled the end of communism and the violent splintering of the former Yugoslavia on the basis of religion and ethnicity.

My work, however, alludes to the the splintering of India into the post-colonial nations of India and Pakistan, an event which resulted in widespread bloodshed and displacement of people and forever altered the destiny of the Subcontinent, including that of my own family.

My visits to this Croatia marked a turning point in my artistic preoccupations. It was in reliving moments of the tumultuous history of this nation that vicariously resurrected my own family's history.

Here in this photo-shopped digital collage, 'Stories from a Broken Land #2', within the crumbling walls of re-constructed Dubrovnik, Croatia, a pair of grandparents play with their young, insouciant grandson. This work draws lessons from the history of creating and mapping new lands from old- where a new nation is vibrant and full of promise, yet has a contentious history and deep, open wounds. These works embody the dualities of conflict and peace, despair and hope, young and old, destruction and renewal and so forth.
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